Avoid Coronavirus Scams

Beware Phishing & Imposter Attempts

  • Be alert for phishing and imposter scams that will typically target you online and through email.
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know and watch out for emails that may appear to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Be aware that the Social Security Administration will not suspend or decrease benefit payments due to the pandemic. Any communication you receive that says such is a scam.
  • Consumers should also beware of CDC impersonators who may go door-to-door claiming to be from the organization. Report imposters to your local law enforcement.
  • For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Don’t Fall for Vaccine Scams or Fake Checks

  • As COVID-19 vaccine distribution begins, here are signs of potential scams:
    • You are asked to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
    • You are asked to pay to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
    • Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
    • Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment.
  • Know that government agencies are NOT sending out emails asking for residents’ personal information in order to receive funds or other pandemic relief opportunities. The federal government's economic impact payment will be distributed automatically. Some seniors and others who typically do not file tax returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment. Find the most up-to-date information about the economic impact payment on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Remember, the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges.

Do Your Homework on Donations & Purchases

  • Research organizations through which you may want to donate. Do not provide cash or gift cards. Do not wire money. If you are being pressured into giving, it’s a scam.
  • Before donating, confirm you are dealing with a reputable charity. Helpful resources for charity background information may be found via https://sos.tn.gov/charitable/ and https://www.charitynavigator.org/.
  • Use care when shopping online. Research product descriptions and the seller’s history carefully before committing to a purchase.  

File A Consumer Complaint

Read more about avoiding Coronavirus scams on the Federal Trade Commission's website.